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Close to 3,000 residents of Broadgate in St. Mary now have improved access to potable water, with the recent commissioning into service of a $35 million water supply system under the Rural Water Improvement Project.

The project was undertaken by the Rural Water Supply Limited in keeping with Government’s commitment to provide safe drinking water to residents of rural communities.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who officially commissioned the system into service, said that far too many persons, particularly those in the  rural areas, still do not have access to potable water, and it is Government’s intention to ensure universal access by 2015.

“The last available statistics showed that less than 50 per cent of rural communities have access to potable water, but of this number, only 39 per cent have water piped to their houses.  Eight percent obtain water from rivers, streams and ponds, 25 per cent get water from stand-pipes, while 22 per cent obtain the commodity by using rain-water catchment tanks,” he informed.

The Minister said that during the period 2008 t0 2011, some $922 million was spent to implement over 20 water systems in the parishes of St. Ann, Clarendon, Portland, St. Catherine, St. James, Westmoreland, St. Mary and Hanover.  

“Eleven water catchment tanks were also rehabilitated in St. Elizabeth and an additional nine are in various stages of completion.  At the end of the project, expected to cost some $12 million, close to 7,500 persons will have benefited from improved potable water supply,” he pointed out.

The Minister informed that six other projects are being implemented in Westmoreland, St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Hanover and in St. Mary, under the National Water Commission’s (NWC) K-Factor Project at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rural Water Supply Limited, John-Paul White, informed that plans are “far advanced” for the commissioning into service of other projects, which would benefit an additional 40,000 persons in rural Jamaica.

The Broadgate project was divided into four components, with the first segment involving the drilling of a 120-foot deep well at the Mahoe Hill Primary School, which yields 600 gallons of water per minute. 

The second component involved the laying of pipelines from the well site to the reservoir and to the distribution mains where connections can be made to houses.  The third segment involved construction of the pumping station, while the fourth component saw the construction of a 100,000-gallon capacity galvanized steel reservoir.